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Courier Management System Vs Direct Courier Integration

20/3/18

Parcels ready to be dispatched

We recently talked about the 2017 MetaPack Report, and our response to the Metapack Report, and this time we thought that we’d discuss the reasons for and against choosing a Courier Management System.

These include the likes of MetaPack, GFS,  Scurri, or Amazon  (Amazon’s “Merchant Fulfilment” system),  and whether these types of companies should replace your tried and trusted single or handful of couriers.

What is a CMS?

We understand that perhaps not everyone know what a Courier Management System is, so we thought we’d take this opportunity to explain more, and why you might choose one option over the other.

Typically, a Courier Management System:

  • Combines different couriers
  • Reduces shipping costs by using the ‘right’ courier, based on your rules and criteria
  • Keeps customers informed via SMS and email
  • Provides different delivery services, such as same day, next day, and timed
  • Offers alternative collection points, not just home or work address

Why choose a Courier Management System?

With all these features it’s not surprising that Courier Management Systems are becoming increasingly popular, especially with large online retailers who may dispatch thousands of orders a day, all over the world.

In addition, it’s also proving attractive for ecommerce companies who sell lots of different types of products that may be large, fragile, or be needed as soon as possible.

Having a wide range of couriers can be important, even if some of the couriers are very rarely used.

Why wouldn’t you use a Courier Management System?

For some companies, having all the choice that a CMS offers is a hindrance not a help.

We’ve found that many times Courier Management Systems don’t offer the best value for money.

In addition, larger companies sending out many orders per day often already have a good relationship with their existing courier(s).

Why choose Direct Courier Integration?

You might already have integrated your courier(s) with your CMS to get the best delivery options for your products and customers because you:

  • Trust your WMS to choose your courier based on your weight, destination, and dimensions rules
  • Use a different courier for some orders, such as for remote locations, fragile or large items
  • Know the delivery options your couriers offer meet your business and customer needs

If you sell a limited range of products, or specialise in very similar items and know your ‘typical customer’, then you might not need all the features and expense of a CMS.

Maybe you’ve been using the same courier for years, and they provide a great service at a great price.

If you and your customers are happy with the delivery service they provide, and the price they charge, then why would you look to change?

Is it easy to choose the best option?

Many small companies could perhaps benefit from the versatility and choice of a CMS but don’t have enough orders or budget to do so.

We hear stories that the cost savings that can be made by using a CMS only achieved when there are significant volumes of orders dispatched.

Whilst this is fine for larger companies, it often doesn’t work for smaller companies.

What do we recommend?

In our experience, using a CMS is often more expensive than using a handful of couriers as and when necessary.

However, the convenience and the ability to ship worldwide justifies it for many larger companies.

A small company may only dispatch a few orders a day, certainly initially, and so won’t be able to make those savings, despite the fact that having a wider choice of couriers might mean that they could save money.

A dedicated courier company is likely to be more helpful or understanding to the needs of a smaller company and so perhaps more accommodating or flexible when it comes to things like collection or pricing.

Therefore, in our experience, for our customers and their customers, a dedicated courier integration often makes the most sense in terms of cost, delivery times and convenience.

Is a dedicated courier the right answer?

By using the same courier(s) for the majority of orders, a company can build up a relationship with their courier(s), which can then reap dividends as the company grows and dispatches more orders.

A courier account manager will learn more about the company and so know when their busy times of the day or year are, or what the potential problems are, and how the courier could help in the future.

These simple things can make a great deal of difference for the company and the courier alike, and would often be unachievable using a Courier Management Service, as there wouldn’t really be any dealings with individual couriers or relationship.

Using a CMS is unlikely to build up a relationship, as a courier may only be used once, and then never again.

Where does Optimiser WMS fit in?

Thanks to increasing customer demand, in 2017 we actually doubled the number of couriers that we integrate with.

So, whilst a CMS is the right choice for some companies, direct courier integration is the right choice for many of our customers.

Our Optimiser WMS  currently integrates with 5 Courier Management Systems, and many of the leading individual courier companies, so that you can automate as much of your dispatch process as possible.

Setting up courier rules within Optimiser gives you plenty of choice when it comes to dispatching your orders.

Conclusion

If you need a new WMS, want a better of way of dispatching orders, or are interested in how courier rules can make your warehouse more efficient, then why not see how we can help?

Contact Us on 01270 500777 today, and tell us what you need.